Richie Sambora Hits The Stage With Two Elegant Martin Signature Editions
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 20 - Jan. 2006
OMC-41 Richie Sambora
MC12-41 Richie Sambora
As lead guitarist and principal songwriter for Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora has reached the pinnacle of rock and roll success. Among the most enduring bands of the past 20 years, Bon Jovi has sold more than 100,000,000 albums, packed stadiums throughout the world and built a worldwide following for its mix of powerful, tuneful rock anthems and big ballads.
But beyond the stage lights, Richie Sambora has shown a more eclectic musical persona. His two solo albums, “Stranger in Town” and “Undiscovered Soul,” are rich with emotion and introspection and range beyond rock to include blues and acoustic. Acoustic guitars are essential tools in his songwriting, and he usually reaches for one of the numerous Martins he owns. Two of his favorites are a 1902 parlor guitar and a rare 1930 OM-45. He also has a fondness for 12-string acoustics and often plays one in duet appearances with lead singer Jon Bon Jovi.
When Richie discussed ideas for a namesake Signature Edition with C. F. Martin, he suggested a doubleneck 6-string and 12-string guitar but finally agreed two guitars would be better than one. While the Martin OMC-41 Richie Sambora and MC12-41 Richie Sambora Signature Editions draw their inspiration from his vintage OM-45, these spectacular, stage-worthy guitars have a style all their own.
The body sizes he selected: an OM for the 6-string and an M (0000) for the 12-string, each with a rounded cutaway, offer balanced tone and outstanding access to the upper frets. The premium solid tonewoods chosen also show a connoisseur’s appreciation for tone: tops of Italian alpine spruce for brilliance and richness, and backs and sides of Madagascar rosewood, the tone-wood considered by many to be closest in appearance, projection and clarity to now-rare Brazilian rosewood.
Appointments selected (and in a few cases created) for these guitars are equally stunning. The Style 41 top inlay and Style 45 rosette, both in select abalone, stand out against the top’s unique vintage tobacco (yellow to brown) “Sambora” sunburst. Top, back, headplate and fingerboard are bound in grained ivoroid, and all but the top feature inset black/white fine line inlays. The grained ivoroid end piece and heelcap have identical black/white fine line accents. The distinctive pyramid belly bridge with Stauffer point is carved from black African ebony. A black polished and beveled pickguard protects the top.
Unique inlays highlight both the black African ebony fingerboard and headplate. Beginning at the 1st fret and continuing to the 17th, small abalone hexagon position markers on the fingerboard are bordered with exclusive mother of pearl, which are in turn accented on both sides by delicate black line inlays. Richie Sambora’s inlaid signature appears between the 19th and 20th frets. The headplate showcases an exclusive “heart and cross” Martin torch inlay in abalone and mother of pearl inspired by a bracelet designed by Richie Sambora’s wife, actress Heather Locklear.
A low profile neck – 1-11/16" for the 6-string and 1-13/16" for the 12-string – with diamond volutes at the base of the headstock and the Martin stamp on the back combines a modern feel with classic appearance. Gotoh gold tuning machines with small knobs, and a bone nut and compensated TUSQ saddle provide smooth tuning and precise intonation. The bridge pins and endpin are fashioned from fossilized ivory and topped by colorful pearl dots.
As is evident from his Signature Edition guitars, Richie Sambora is a musician whose influences and creativity run deep. A native of New Jersey, he learned to play guitar after hearing Eric Clapton. He also admired the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and the Beatles, and integrated subtle elements of their styles into his own. By the early 1980s, he had played with a series of groups, toured with Joe Cocker, been called to audition with KISS and worked as a studio musician.
Around the same time, singer Jon Bon Jovi recorded “Runaway” with a band of studio musicians, and the single became a local hit. Record contract in hand, he soon joined forces with drummer Tico Torres and keyboard player David Bryan to create the core of Bon Jovi. Richie Sambora talked his way into an audition after hearing that Bon Jovi was looking for a new guitarist. He became the last member to join the band. Bon Jovi refined its rock sound with two modestly successful albums. Then, in 1986, came “Slippery When Wet,” which sold more than nine million copies and produced three hit singles co-written by Richie Sambora: “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The band quickly moved from small venues to stadium shows. “New Jersey,” Bon Jovi’s 1988 album, continued the winning streak, producing two more hit singles: “Bad Medicine” and “I’ll Be There For You.”
The 1990s were a decade of considerable turbulence for Bon Jovi, but the band recorded three albums and continued to play big shows. In 2000, it returned to the top with the album “Crush” and its singles “It’s My Life” and “Thank You for Loving Me.” It has been full speed ahead for Bon Jovi in the new century, with a memorable performance at the Concert for New York City, a five-CD boxed set “100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t be Wrong,” and the recent release of the album and hit single “Have a Nice Day.” Bon Jovi kicked off a world tour in November of 2005, with Richie Sambora supplying the guitar magic.
The Richie Sambora Signature Editions are beautifully finished in polished gloss lacquer. Stage-ready, both the 6-string and the 12-string come factory-equipped with Martin Gold Plus Natural 1 electronics and a gold strap button. Also included is a special vintage Geib style hardshell case with green crushed velour interior.
Each Martin OMC-41 and MC12-41 Richie Sambora Signature Edition guitar comes with an interior label personally signed by Richie Sambora and C. F. Martin IV. In addition, each guitar will be individually numbered in sequence with the edition total. The edition size of either model will not exceed two hundred instruments.
Authorized Martin dealers will begin taking orders for the OMC-41 and MC12-41 Richie Sambora Signature Editions immediately. The names of participating dealers will be posted on this website.